It was sometime in 2004 when I was asked by the editor of a lifestyle magazine to call a number of celebrities and ask a few questions.
The queries ranged from naming their favourite deodorant to predicting where they saw themselves over a decade in the industry.
Those reached included actor Adnan Siddiqui, musicians Fakhir, Haroon and fashion designer Deepak Perwani among others. For someone not accustomed to ‘cold-calling’ the high and mighty, the experience turned out to be downright discouraging. One celeb even accused me of lying when I told him that I had been provided his number by my desk.
Crestfallen, I was thinking about discontinuing the practice when I heard a courteous voice on the other side of the receiver; a man softly asked me what I needed. I repeated my questions and was politely told again that “brother I have left these things, I don’t do them anymore.” Encouraged, I insisted in vain. But, he did not get angry or irritated. He kept his cool and calmly reiterated his response.
The man was none other than pop star-turned-evangelist Junaid Jamshed! I never forgot that experience and it was the first thing that came to my mind when I found out that he was on board the ill-fated PIA ATR-42 that crashed near Abbottabad in December.
I couldn’t stop thinking about that sublime voice and where it originated from. And the day he was gone, it dawned upon me. He was calm because he had found his calling. Two years earlier, I had also changed (for the better) and found solace.
When someone abused this beautiful individual by terming him blasphemous over a live show, Junaid who had earlier publicly apologised to all Muslims, sat quietly and did not say a word. The beautiful soul is no longer among us; may the Almighty shower countless blessings on Junaid and keep him among those he transformed his life for.